This piece was originally posted on the MSU Spartan message board as "Lest We Forget (part 2)."
For the past several weeks, I have been engaged in a large research project (NCAA football). As often happens during research, interesting things are uncovered that are not directly related to the thesis being investigated. Such curiosities are often worth a digression, so I spent a little time looking at what follows.
First, a little background.
In the Forcier vs. Paulus, who cares ? Gotta Love It!!! on May 1, 2009 at 9:49 pm, Michwolverines1 posted:
All three of you are idiot that dont do their research firstIn the Forcier vs. Paulus, who cares ? Gotta Love It!!! May 8, 2009 4:03 pm, I posted:
And, get this, it was the Big East! Now, he sidled into the Big Ten, gutted the UM coaching staff, turned the program on its ear, and you think with a bunch of freshmen he is going to have a winning season?
A short while later (Forcier vs. Paulus, who cares ? Gotta Love It!!! May 8, 2009 8:47 pm, Michwolverines1 retorted with:
Did Dantonioioioio keep all the staff from your previous failure of a coach? My guess in no.
It would seem he does not do his research either.
A short while after that (11:51 pm) I answered with:
Yes, Dik-Rod got rid of every single member (100%) of the coaching staff and replaced them top-to-bottom. Dantonio did not keep all the prior coaches, true, but he kept many of them.What really happened?
On December 20, 2007, Rodriguez announced the firing of all the Lloyd Carr assistant coaches. It is a shame CBS does not retain message board posts that far back. The UM fans were outraged about it and noted especially their angst at what they thought at the time was the concurrent firing of the entire staff, not just the assistant coaches, and especially noting Singletary, the recruiting coordinator. I based my statement on the knowledge (or lack thereof) of the UM fans. That was a mistake.
As it turns out, on December 21, 2007, Rodriguez rehired Fred Jackson, long-time (then 16 years) Michigan assistant. Digging deeper, I found that Singletary was not fired. So much for accepting what UM fans say without verification.
Further investigation uncovered that Dantonio fired all of John L. Smith's assistant coaches except one, Dan Enos (then 1 year at MSU). The firings took place a few at a time and did not give the appearance of "gutting" the coaching staff. Furthermore, Dan Enos had been with Cincinnati the year before joining John L. Smith's staff.
Both coaches brought 6 assistants with them, hired 2 from the outside, and retained 1. Each left 3 assistants behind at their former schools. At the staff level, both coaches replaced their graduate assistant coaches and a few others but essentially retained all of the rest of the staff.
I recant my posts and do so knowing there is the risk that someone will claim that since I was wrong on that one point, I was wrong about everything.
In digging all that up, I found myself on a second digression, as follows:
Rodriguez was an assistant when Don Nehlen was WVU head coach. Nehlen was an assistant under Bo Schembechler.
November 26, 2000: West Virginia announced Rodriguez as the new head coach, officially starting November 27, 2000.
Source: Clemson Assistant Coach Rich Rodriguez Will Be New West Virginia Head Coach
February 2, 2002: Rodriguez signed a 1-year contract extension with West Virginia.
Source: Alabama's violations draw NCAA punishment
...despite leading the Mountaineers to a 3-8 record in his first season.December 21, 2002: Rodriguez signed a 7-year contract extention with West Virginia (through 2009) that included a reciprocal $2M termination penalty.
Source: Contract Law: Meet Rich Rodriguez
June 26, 2006: Rodriguez signed 3-year contract extension with West Virginia (through 2012) that continued the reciprocal $2M termination penalty.
Source: WVU's Rodriguez gets contract extension
December 5, 2006: A famous Rodriguez quote:
I plan on being at West Virginia the rest of my career.Source: Bama to make decision within 72 hours
December 7, 2006: Rodriguez received the Alabama head coach offer.
December 8, 2006: Rodriquez turned down the Alabama head coach offer.
Source: Rodriguez ponders 'Bama, Morgantown
December 8, 2006: Reported that Rodriguez to receive a 2-year contract extension with West Virginia.
Source: Tide turns as Rodriguez rejects Alabama
December 12, 2006: A famous Rodriguez quote:
Obviously I'm very excited to stay here and I plan on being here a long time.
Source: Rodriguez denies 'Bama, will return to Morgantown
August 24, 2007: Rodriguez signed a 1-year contract extension with West Virginia (through 2013) that changed the reciprocal termination penalty to $4M.
Source: Rodriguez testifies he felt pressured to sign contract
Source: WVU Rodriguez signs 1-year contract extension
One might conjecture that West Virginia increased the reciprocal termination penalty as a result of the Alabama offer.
The August 24, 2007 West Virginia contract with Rich Rodriguez included:
$550k/yr guaranteed supplemental compensation (with $50k increases every year)
$415k/yr incentive bonuses (bowl games, etc.)
$350k/yr additional income (non-WVU approved endorsements)
$150k/yr tenure bonus
$4M reciprocal contract termination penalty that declines after 3 years
Source: RR WVU Contract (link to actual contract)
November 19, 2007: Lloyd Carr announced his retirement effective at the end of the season (after the bowl game).
Source: Live notes from Carr's press conference
December 5, 2007: Greg Schiano (Rutgers) turned down the Michigan head coach offer.
December 6, 2007: Les Miles, another candidate for the Michigan head coach position, signed a new contract with LSU.
Source: Schiano rejects Michigan, stays at Rutgers
And 1 year plus 1 week after receiving the Alabama offer:
December 14, 2007: Rodriguez received the Michigan head coach offer.
Source: Rodriguez testifies he felt pressured to sign contract
December 14, 2007: Michigan officially received permission from West Virginia to talk with Rodriquez.
Source: Michigan gets permission to talk to Rodriguez
December 14, 2007: Rodriguez met with Michigan president Mary Sue Coeman and athletic director Bill Martin in Toledo.
Source: Rodriguez mum on Michigan job reports
Source: Report: Michigan meets with West Virginia's Rodriguez
The following likely occurred on December 14th but may have been on the 15th. The exact dates have not been verified.
December 14 (15?), 2007: Pastilong [West Virginia athletic director Ed Pastilong] said he was unaware Rodriguez, who has a hefty buyout clause in his contract, was in Toledo. December 14 (15?), 2007: Michigan athletic department spokesman Bruce Madej said he was unaware of any talks.
December 14 (15?), 2007: A famous quote:
When asked further whether he knew Rodriguez was talking to Michigan, Pastilong said, "Rich has not mentioned anything of that nature to me. Secondly, we have a strong commitment with Rich, a strong contract. We're strongly committed to him and he's strongly committed to us."
December 14 (15?), 2007: A famous quote: [Rodriguez]
“The impact of your name being thrown about is sometimes a little overrated. It probably makes for a lot of angst among families and we don’t want that, sorry but you all are stuck with me here.”
Source: Rodriguez meets with Michigan AD about replacing Carr
December 16, 2007: Rodriguez signed a letter of intent with Michigan.
Source: Rodriguez's contract at Michigan includes $4 million buyout
December 16, 2007: Rodriguez informed the West Virginia players of his decision.
Source: Rodriguez leaving West Virginia to coach Michigan
December 16, 2007: Rodriguez submited his resignation, effective at the end of the season (after the bowl game), a one liner delivered by a graduate student, to West Virginia.
Source: Rodriguez's lawyers seek WVU records, Pastilong testimony
December 17, 2007: Michigan introduced Rodriguez as the new head coach.
Source: Michigan introduces Rich Rodriguez as new head coach
December 18, 2007: Rodriguez revised his resignation date to be effective at midnight and declines to coach for the January 2, 2008 bowl game.
Source: WVU DEPARTURE: Rodriguez moves up resignation date
December 20, 2007: Rodriguez announced the firing of all the Michigan assistant coaches.
Source: Rodriguez won't retain Carr's assistant coaches at Michigan
December 21, 2007: Rodriguez rehired assistant coach Jackson.
Source: Rich Rodriguez brings back Michigan assistant day after firings
Interesting speculative pieces that contend McGuffie staying at Michigan might well be influenced by the retention of Jackson.
Source: Star recruit McGuffie is still with U-M -- for now; decision may hinge on Fred Jackson
Source: McGuffie’s First Reactions
December 27, 2007: West Virginia served the lawsuit to Rodriguez.
Source: Fmr. WVU Coach Rich Rodriguez Served Lawsuit by WVU
January 10, 2008: Rodriguez submitted a second resignation letter to West Virginia.
Source: Rodriguez's Resignation Letter Released
Source: Rodriguez submitted second resignation letter to West Virginia
January 6, 2008: Rodriguez announces hiring the West Virginina six-member strength and conditioning staff to work at Michigan.
Source: New Michigan Coach Rich Rodriguez Hires More Ex-Aides From West Virginia
January 16, 2008: West Virginia filed suit versus Rodriguez for failure to pay contract termination penalty.
Source: West Virginia University Board of Governors v. Rodriguez
July 9, 2008: Rodriguez settles with West Virginia on the contract termination penalty.
Source: WVU board approves Rodriguez settlement
October 16, 2008: Another famous quote:
CBSSports.com: You knew what you were getting into...
Rodriguez: "It wasn't like I looked at the roster..."Source: Insider: Rich Rod discusses the good, the bad and the ugly
October 24, 2008: Rodriguez signed a 6-year contract with Michigan that includes a reciprocal $4M termination penalty.
Source: Rodriguez contract with Michigan
Source: Rich Rodriguez Signs Contract
Source: Rodriguez signs Michigan contract, 10 months later
It is interesting to note that the contract was signed on October 24, 2008, the day before the MSU game, 10 months and 7 games after Rodriguez was introduced as the new Michigan head coach. It is an amusing thought of what might have happened had Rodriguez waited until after the MSU game to sign. Another amusing thought: after the OSU game.
I fully understand delaying the signing until after the settlement in July. The reasons, to me, are obvious. But the end of October? Questions abound!
The October 24, 2008 Michigan contract with Rodriguez includes:
$1.65M/yr guaranteed additional income (endorsements, TV, etc.)
$300k bonus NC
$200k bonus for BCS game or $100k bonus for non-BCS/Jan 1 bowl or $50k bonus for non-Jan 1 bowl
$550k "deferred compensation" (payable when contract comes to term)
$4M buyout, decreases $0.5M/yr
plus what amounts to a $2.5M (plus coverage of the tax liability) signing bonus
Source: RR UM Contract 6 years (link to actual contract)
The $2.5M portion of the West Virginia contract termination penalty is paided directly to West Virginia but counts as income on Rodriguez' taxes. Michigan is also covering the tax liability on the $2.5M which can range from $0 to $1.44M depending of whether the $2.5M can be written off as a loss or business expense or is fully taxed. Rodriguez is employed via a contract. There are complexities concerning the tax code that I have chosen to not spend time researching.
And, last but not least...
November 19, 2008: Rodriguez tells fans to "get a life."
Source: Rodriguez says some college football fans need to get a perspective on life
It is left to the reader to reach his own conclusions.
For further reading, refer to GETTING RICH: U-M names it's new football coach, Rich Rodriguez (Detroit Free Press).
Regardless of the good or bad conclusions one can form based on the history, what counts today is:
1st losing season in 46 years
4th worst win-loss percentage in school history
7th worst record for number of wins in school history
All-time school record for most number of losses in a season
All-time school record for most points allowed in a season
3rd worst point differential for a single season in school history
Worst season for a first-year coach in school history
2nd worst season-to-season collapse in school history
1-8 Big Ten
All-time school record for most conference losses in school history
3rd worst conference win-loss percentage in school history
First loss to a MAC school in Michigan history
Broke the streak of 33 consecutive bowl games
Broke the streak of 8 consecutive home victories versus MSU
First 5-game losing streak versus OSU
Since his hiring in December, 2007, 12 recruits have decommited, 19 players have not returned, and 5 other players are noted as possible.
Assistant coach Scott Shafer took the blame for the abysmal defense in 2008 and resigned.
The roster at the beginning of the 2008 season had 109 players listed. The 2009 spring roster has 96 players.
Does all of this mean Michigan made a mistake hiring Rodriguez? One season is an insufficient basis for any conclusions. All this shows is the transition from Carr to Rodriguez did not go well.
As for the 2009 season, c'mon September!
There are three alleged quotes from the 2008 season that have not been located or verified:
The first is a Rodriguez criticism of Carr for the poor roster Rodriguez inherited (in the context of losing so many games). Given the celerity of the offer and acceptance, there is no doubt that Rodriguez did not have the time to scrutinize the roster. If Rodriguez actually made a statement of that nature, it was a very foolish thing to do. This alleged statement, if true, could only be made by a classless person.
The second is a Rodriguez statement that he thought a winning season at Michigan was automatic (in the context of losing so many games). This alleged statement, if true, too easily leads to the conclusion that Rodriguez expected an easy tenure, winning with no effort, etc. If Rodriguez actually made a statement of that nature, it was a very foolish thing to do. No one who knows anything can perceive Rodriguez as a slacker.
The third is a Rodriguez statement of "Who wouldn't want to coach at Michigan" (or words to that effect). It must certainly be true that many coaches aspire to coaching at Michigan. If Rodriguez actually made a statement of that nature, it was a foolish thing to do given his statements of staying at West Virginia for the rest of his career. If he actually made a statement of that nature, he is a hypocrit at best and a pathological liar at worst.